Toledo, OH – The University of Michigan men’s basketball team is off to its first 10-0 start since the 2012-2013 season and the fourth time in program history. Michigan downed South Carolina 89-78 in Ann Arbor on Saturday and with only three non-conference games left, will likely be undefeated heading back into Big Ten play when they host Penn State on January 3rd.
Now I know what you’re thinking and I hear you, looking ahead is dangerous. But like our friend Baker Mayfield likes to say, this Michigan team wakes up dangerous every game day.
Not even halfway through December and Michigan already has wins over three ranked opponents, at Villanova and against North Carolina and Purdue. All of them double digit wins and none of them were ever in question for the Wolverines. Michigan’s stifling defense is a big reason why there has been so much early season success but do not let that distract you from the plethora of offensive weapons in Beilein’s rotation.
Over the last four games Jordan Poole is averaging over twenty points a game and scored a career high twenty-six points against South Carolina. Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis has proven to be a scoring machine, Jon Teske has grown into a really sound offensive player and Charles Matthews can go off for twenty on any given night.
That leaves Zavier Simpson who has been hitting timely threes and is money driving to the hoop especially with his newly found sky hook. Eli Brooks hit a huge three in Michigan’s only close game on the road vs. Northwestern and Isaiah Livers has embodied the Duncan Robinson sixth man role and is shooting over fifty percent from three this year.
This is unlike any Michigan Beilein team we have seen before even though the Trey Burke led 12-13 team made it all the way to 16-0 before dropping a game. That 2013 NCAA Tourney runner up team was supposed to be and projected to be there because of their scoring and ability to shoot the three. This 2018 team was ranked #19 nationally at the start of the season; no one saw this Michigan team being ready this early.
The national pundits have yet to put Michigan in the same room as Duke, Gonzaga and Kansas but sooner or later they will be forced to. Michigan has three Saturday games in a row all at Crisler Arena vs. Western Michigan, Air Force and Binghamton and then they reopen conference play at home vs. Penn State and Indiana.
If the Wolverines continue their winning ways, Michigan may be in store for another deep run into March and April and may finally capture that NCAA title that has escaped John Beilein so far.